While commercial airlines continue to cut back on food and beverage options available to passengers, private aircraft travelers have numerous options for meals and snacks aboard their flight. SherpaReport had the opportunity to talk with Manda Redfern, Flight Options Catering Services Manager, and Marialena Barnard, Sentient’s Senior Manager of Client Operations, about the options their companies offer owners and clients.
Catering options vary by city and aircraft type, but in most cases, passengers' needs and requests are met. The most popular items are fresh sliced fruit plates, cheese and crackers, and cut vegetable trays, because they are convenient and lighter. But they receive and accommodate requests as varied as filet mignon and lobster, and always take into account dietary restrictions, special diets, and food allergies. Did you know that private aircraft firms are also able to get specific meals from restaurants? Meals are ordered from these restaurants, brought to the catering facilities where they are kept cold and repackaged until delivered directly to the aircraft. While Sentient offers an entrée, side item, and choice of beer and wine to each passenger per flight, they can work with clients to make sure their requests are accommodated.
Standard menus are provided to Flight Options' passengers to order in advance, and include some of the more popular meals ordered. Quarterly publications to owners often feature new and popular meal options as well. In addition, passengers can request specific meals, or even specific caterers if they have a preference. Sentient offers a catering menu to new clients with some of the most popular standard items, but can also accommodate special requests – including things like pizza from a client's favorite pizza shop. While some of the small aircraft do not have warming equipment, if a passenger requests a warm meal it can often be heated prior to the flight. Sentient's client services team works with clients to make sure they are aware of limitations.
Special occasions are also celebrated on board private aircraft. Flowers, champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and cakes are just a few of the options available for celebrations. Flight Options, for example, also keeps track of special occasions and often provides these items as a surprise to owners. Sentient also offers children's menus and often provides children activity packs if kids will be on board.
Flight Options never wants to say no to a request from an owner, and will do all they can to accommodate preferences. This extends beyond food and beverage requests - the catering department has also helped procure dog carriers, DVD players, car seats, and other non-food items. For those who fly with their pets, treats and food can also be provided.